Linaro has just opened a new service to generate Android images built with the Linaro kernel, and with Linaro optimizations (binaries built with optimized ARM toolchains, optimized C library…).

All users need to do is go to https://android-build.linaro.org/https://android-build.linaro.org/. They can then choose between downloading images built by other users and requesting their own build. In the latter case, the request submitted to the cloud, and within an hour, the results are available.

This approach makes it very easy to try Android on one of the boards supported by Linaro, compared to build your image by yourself. For example, in the TI Panda board case, you would have to go through a long list of steps. Remember that ARM provides RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) types of CPUs. With the Linaro Android Build Service, you also get a reduced set of instructions ;-)

For the moment, only authorized users can submit their own requests to the Linaro Android Build Service. Anyone can already log in, and will soon be able to submit requests.

In the below video, we show how to use one of the images already available on the website:

The video can also be downloaded in WebM format (VP8 codec):

Here is the list of steps that we went through in the video:

  • Download the boot.tar.bz2, system.tar.bz2 and userdata.tar.bz2 archives

  • Plug in an SD card. With dmesg, find the corresponding device on your Linux box. Let’s assume this is sdb.

  • Download linaro-image-tools from Launchpad.

  • Now run:

    sudo ./linaro-image-tools/linaro-android-media-create –dev panda –system system.tar.bz2 –boot boot.tar.bz2 –userdata userdata.tar.bz2 –mmc /dev/sdb

Make sure that you only say y if the device it wants to use was listed in the dmesg output.

  • Once you see:

    Done creating Linaro Android image on /dev/sdd

Unplug the SD card.

  • Plug it into Panda’s SD card slot (SD/MMC card)

  • Plug in a USB mouse and a USB keyboard

  • Plug in a serial to USB converter

  • Get a minicom session going with

    minicom -D /dev/ttyUSB0

  • Plug in the HD monitor (HDMI label on the board)

  • Turn on the monitor

  • Turn on the Panda board

  • See the unit booting in minicom

  • See the default launcher. Use the mouse to click on the launcher.

  • You should see 0xBenchmark